690m – Ontario’s Highest Point
On Saturday, October 11, 2008 I, along with several other geocachers, plan on hiking to the top of Ishpatina Ridge, which is the highest point in Ontario. Ishpatina Ridge is located about 90km north of Sudbury in the Temagami region of Ontario, Canada, within Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park. Ishpatina Ridge is very remote and there are no direct trails to get to there. The most common approaches are by canoe or float plane. My plan however is to hike the whole way to the top, from where the logging road meets the Sturgeon River. This will involve hiking of over 15km one way, several km of bushwhacking and having to deal with a number of water obstacles, including crossing the Sturgeon River. Not only do I want to make it to the top of Ishpatina Ridge, I want to do it entirely on foot and then down again and back to the Sturgeon River crossing…all this in 1 day. If we succeed in accomplishing this, and there is no doubt in my mind that we won’t do it, then to my knowledge we will be the first to make this adventure from the Sturgeon River to the top of Ishpatina Ridge and back to the Sturgeon River all in one day and entirely on foot.
My plan is to camp Friday and Saturday nights by the Sturgeon River crossing where the logging road enters the Sturgeon River. My wife will be joining me and remaining at the camp site while I hike up to Ishpatina Ridge on Saturday. We plan on leaving home early Friday morning and hope to make it to the start of the logging road, north of Capreol by early afternoon and then drive the 65km of logging road, in our VW Rabbit, to the Sturgeon River where we will then set up camp. We hope to be at the camp site sometime mid to late Friday afternoon and will meet other geocachers here as well who will be joining me on the hike to the top the following day and those that plan on taking other methods and approaches, like ATV, Hummer, Canoeing and a combination of those. Some people will even be flying in with a float plan on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning we plan on leaving the camp site at around 6am. It will still be dark as sunrise won’t be until after 7:30am. Our first obstacle as we start out adventure will be to cross the Sturgeon River. We expect the river to be about 2 feet deep. After crossing the river we plan on hiking along logging roads and then trails for the next 7 or 8km until we eventually have no choice but to do some difficult bushwhacking for the next 3 or 4km until we reach the Summit trail, which we expect to be overgrown in parts and also contain a wet area that we will once again need to walk through. These 3km of the summit trail will take us to the top of Ishpatina Ridge, which we hope to reach by around noon. I hope to spend a couple hours up there for a nice picnic, enjoy the scenery and views and take lots of pictures. The Ellis firetower is also here on top of Ishpatina Ridge. After enjoying a nice time on top with fellow geocachers, we plan on hiking back down to the camp site at the Sturgeon River, following the same route we took. We’ll probably make it back to the camp site in the dark at around 8pm. Sunset will be around 6:45pm.
My wife and I plan on leaving for home Sunday morning and we might do some geocaching on the way home too. We hope that everything will go well on this adventure for everyone taking part. For me personally, this will be a once in a lifetime thing. I do not enjoying camping, and this will be only the 5th time in my life I have ever camped. However, in order to make this adventure happen, sometimes you just have to make some sacrifices. Ever since I canoed\hiked to the top of Silver Peak in Killarney Provincial Park 5 years ago with a friend of mine, I had always wondered what the highest point in Ontario was and have wanted to come up here and make the hike ever since. After much thought and planning, the Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect time for it. And here we are now, just a week away and the excitement is building.